There is a new mantra at Bridgewater Bank. “We are a trusted business partner to our brokers,” says Todd Poberznick, assistant vicepresident, B2B Solutions. “Our success is based on the overall strength of our partners. We succeed only when our brokers succeed.”
In truth, Bridgewater Bank has always emphasized its broker focus, and throughout 2011 Bridgewater strengthened its commitment to this important business channel. “I think we already provide great service and support to our brokers,” says Poberznick. “But there are times when people need to hear the message a little more clearly. This is one of them.”
In fact, excellent service is a concept Poberznick believes some in the industry may have forgotten. With the recent disappearance of several lenders, cutbacks at other agencies, a possible looming recession combined with an uncertain housing market, Poberznick feels the pain of the brokers trying to succeed in a tough market. “At times like these you need to rely on your support base. By providing top-notch service we hope to exceed the expectations of our brokers”
Bridgewater Bank prides itself on listening to the needs of brokers. This past April, the bank launched the “BwB All Star Portal” after brokers requested a secure electronic gateway allowing them to quickly and efficiently manage deals from start to finish. Anticipating broker needs, the bank posted a series of short, informative online videos illustrating how a deal moves through the portal.
Bridgewater has also expanded its suite of mortgage products. Its new three-year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) currently features one of the lowest rates in the country. In launching a new B product, the bank conducted extensive market research to ensure its competitiveness. In fact, the bank has formalized the process of rate-matching through its competitive rate policy which rivals or is better than rates offered by other B lenders. Perhaps one of the better indications of its commitment to supporting brokers is Bridgewater Bank’s Power Broker program, which rewards participants by paying all fees upfront. Preferred brokers enjoy the ability to buy down rates at their discretion in addition to gaining access to exclusive products, such as the B-Smart mortgage and Draw Mortgage program.
Summarizing, Poberznick says “We have increased our product range while rewarding our most productive partners. That says service if you ask me.”
Rounding out Bridgewater’s broker focus is its team of business development managers (BDMs) who support local brokers by facilitating communication between underwriters and brokers and offering advice on deals. Where possible BDMs also facilitate webinars and provide market intelligence for select partners.
Strong relationships such as these have helped Bridgewater Bank grow since 1997 when it was a residential mortgage lender offering a single product in just two provinces. Almost 15 years later, and now a Schedule 1 bank, Bridgewater’s reach is nationwide (excluding Quebec) and it has a portfolio of over $3.5 billion. Bridgewater is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) and is Alberta’s largest member service organization with over 908,000 members. It offers a robust suite of mortgage products and has expanded into a deposit line of business. In 2010, Bridgewater Bank became a MasterCard issuer and the exclusive provider of Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) MasterCard credit cards to eight of nine CAA clubs and continues to pursue other white label opportunities.
In summing up 2011 and looking to 2012, Poberznick is blunt. “From our underwriting team to our BDMs, we’ll make every effort to make your deals happen. In short, your success is important to us.” CMP